Nothing in Common (1986) starring Tom Hanks, Jackie Gleason
Nothing in Common – Jackie Gleason’s final film role, as the gruff father who needs to repair his relationship with his son Tom Hanks before he dies
[last lines]Max Basner (Jackie Gleason) to his son David (Tom Hanks)
You’re the last person I ever thought would come through for me.
- Tom Hanks (Apollo 13, Toy Story) … David Basner. The immature advertising executive. He lives only for himself, although he’s good at his job. Until his mother files for divorce, and he has to care for his father.
- Jackie Gleason (The Honeymooners, Gigot) … Max Basner. David’s estranged father. Gruff, diabetic, and dying. After his wife files for divorce, he has no one else to turn to.
- Eva Marie Saint (36 Hours) … Lorraine Basner. Max’s long-suffering wife, and David’s mother. After many years of marriage to the grumpy Max, she’s finally had enough. She’s filing for divorce. And ready to live her own life.
- Hector Elizondo (Leviathan, Dear God) … Charlie Gargas
- Barry Corbin … Andrew Woolridge
- Bess Armstrong … Donna Mildred Martin
- Sela Ward … Cheryl Ann Wayne
- Cindy Harrell … Shelley the Stewardess
- John Kapelos … Roger the Commercial Director
Editorial Review of Nothing in Common, starring Tom Hanks, Jackie Gleason, courtesy of Amazon.com
Tom Hanks wanted to prove his dramatic talent in the mid-1980s, and Nothing in Common gave him a ripe opportunity. Playing an emotionally immature Chicago advertising executive, Hanks offers a prototype of his later, better role in Big—the joking man-child with seemingly limitless reserves of energetic humor, perfectly suited to director Garry Marshall’s trademark blend of featherweight comedy and sentiment. The movie wanders aimlessly before settling into its dramatic groove, involving Hanks caring for his aging, diabetic father (Jackie Gleason, well cast in his final screen role) after his mother (Eva Marie Saint) files for divorce and strikes out on her own.
Like Marshall’s Pretty Woman, the movie hits several grace notes and finds unexpected depth in its characters and their need for loving connections. Meanwhile, there’s cheesy nostalgia in the ‘80s trappings, including songs by Carly Simon and Christopher Cross, and Once and Again TV star Sela Ward in an early supporting role. —Jeff Shannon
Trivia (courtesy IMDB)
- Jackie Gleason was seriously ill with colon cancer, liver cancer, thrombosed hemorrhoids, diabetes and phlebitis. One evening during filming he admitted to his daughter that he only had a short time to live.
- Tom Hanks said: “but the first day on the set Jackie came over to me and said, ‘How ya doin’ kid? – let’s make history. We threw our arms around each other, embraced, and it was easy from then on.”
Editor’s note: there’s both language, premarital sex, as well as the general subject matter, that really pushes the limits of “family friendly”. It’s primarily included here because it’s Jackie Gleason’s final film.
Updated December 25, 2021. Merry Christmas!